Liebster Award

I started writing this blog a little more than a year ago and since then I’ve told five people about it. Now I have about 50 followers, and I have no idea who these people are. It’s always a surprise to me that someone “likes” something I wrote, but it’s even more surprising when I notice someone else has decided to follow me. But the biggest surprise of all is getting recognition. TA DA! I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award. Thank you As I wander…for being so kind.

The Liebster Award recognizes bloggers who are relatively new to blogging and have less than 200 followers. Being “nominated” is a misnomer because it really means you’ve won, that you’ve caught the eye of someone who wants to pat you on the back and encourage you to keep blogging. And so, there are rules and you must encourage others.

Liebster awardHere are the Liebster Rules.

  1. List 11 facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  3. Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
  4. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate.
  5. Go to each blogger’s page and let him/her know about the award.
  6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to that person’s blog.

11 Facts About Me

  1. There is something about the act of giving birth that takes away a woman’s modesty. Perhaps it’s the inherent need to “just get that baby out!” that allows a woman to let a stranger see her most private parts. I’ve given birth to four children. I have no secrets.
  2. I have seven siblings, all older. And even though half of them are in their sixties, they still call me their baby sister. I believe this contributes to my fountain of youth.
  3. I am a fourth daughter and I have a fourth daughter.
  4. I have been writing since I was 10 years old. If I didn’t have to pay bills and buy food, I would write for a living.
  5. I cry at commercials. I avoid some Internet stories for the same reason, such as the recent story of the Oklahoma woman being interviewed live on TV as she found her dog in the rubble. I won’t watch that one. Just can’t go there.
  6. I live in the land of 10,000+ lakes and I never learned to swim. In fact, I fear water.
  7. I hate snakes, even the so-called cute and harmless garter snakes. So what if they eat mice and mosquitos?
  8. I have always wanted to have a great singing voice and always wished I could play the piano. Sadly, I’ll never sing on a stage as an adult and I’ll likely never learn to read sheet music.
  9. I love to cook but I hate making supper. I hate being distracted during the day as I wonder what to make for supper. I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about what we should have for supper every day. Please when I die, don’t let my epitaph be “What’s for supper?”
  10. I pray to saints and angels. I always will.
  11. There is too much stress in my life and I am stressed about how I’m going to de-stress.

11 Questions Given to Me
1. Did you go to public or private school? Maybe homeschool? My life is a mix of schools. Kindergarten and first grade were in public school. I went to private school for grades two through six. I attended public school from grade seven through to high school graduation. And then I attended a private college. I did all of this while living in the same house my whole life. We never moved so I can’t attribute that as the reason why I was bounced around.
2. What did you want to be when you were little? When I was very young, I wanted to be a teacher. As a teenager, I wanted to be a doctor. I didn’t become either.
3. Thing you will regret most about your life? That I could not stay married to the father of my children.
4. Your greatest accomplishment? Being a mother.
5. Weirdest fear? I have many irrational fears, but none of them are weird.
6. Who’s more attractive: Katherine Heigl or Mila Kunis? Katherine Heigl
7. Thing that most people don’t know about you. I have a lot less confidence than people think.
8. Thing you daydream about the most (be honest!). Winning the lottery. 
9. An addiction of yours. Sugar.
10. Celebrity you think you might look like. I am not anything close to celebrity status.
11. Favorite musician. My love of music is diverse, so I don’t have a single favorite. Here are a few of my favorite male musicians: Beethoven, Pachelbel, Cole Porter, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, the Beattles, Billy Joel, John Pizarelli, John Philip Sousa, Jim Brickman.

11 Questions for Those I Am Nominating

  1. What prompted you to create a blog?
  2. How often do you write?
  3. What prevents you from writing more often?
  4. If you could not write ever again, how would that affect your life?
  5. What is the easiest topic for you to write about?
  6. What is the topic you most dislike writing about but you still find yourself writing about it?
  7. What is the word count of the longest piece you’ve ever written?
  8. If money and skill were no object, what career would you choose?
  9. Have you ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness? Did you pass it on?
  10. Which one of your character/personality traits do you like?
  11. Name one change you are committed to making in your life before the end of 2013.

pienotebooks  http://wordpress.com/#!/read/blog/id/48241385/
Life Is a Journey…Not a Guided Tour  http://wordpress.com/#!/read/blog/id/14002959/ Cracked Pot Pieces http://wordpress.com/#!/read/blog/id/29834491/
integrateliteracy http://en.wordpress.com/#!/read/blog/id/28168487/
Gonna’ Say It http://en.wordpress.com/#!/read/blog/id/31062492/
My thoughts exactly http://en.wordpress.com/#!/read/blog/id/19645660/
p.s. That’s Life! http://psthatslife.com/2013/05/25/say-good-bye-to-that-mullet/
Musings of an Insomniac http://denyingmadness.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/sometimes-it-doesnt-get-better/
Nostalgia Spoken Here http://garvisblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/how-did-we-know-what-was-going-on-back-then/
The Three Rights http://threerights.wordpress.com/
Words of A Courageous Heart http://courageousheartdotme.wordpress.com/

Who knew she rode bikes with angels?

More than a week has passed since Rose was hit by a car. Her short-term memory lapses are gone and so are the really bad headaches. Just five days after the accident she took two college finals, acing both of them. Amazing! She had surgery a couple of days ago to put a screw in her wrist and she’s recovering well from that. The bruises on her body have gone to purple and yellow, so they should be gone soon. In two weeks she’ll get her stitches removed from her wrist and transition to a more comfortable, removable hard splint/brace. Four to six weeks later, that too will go away.

What won’t go away for Rose is the fear of getting back on a bike. I suspect her strong will and determination will eventually get her mind to a place where she can ride a bike on certain streets under certain conditions. But I doubt she will ever have the same love for riding bikes. After the accident, one of Rose’s friends comment, “Who knew she rode bikes with angels?” We all laughed at that, but I knew.

The greater challenge for Rose right now is dealing with her husband’s response to stress. This accident brought to light some behaviors that have been hidden well in the shadows for some time. We knew that Al has a tendency to be jealous and to make snide remarks. What we didn’t know is that he can be intentionally cruel and have moments of completely irrational behavior—so much so that Rose called and asked to be brought to our house to stay and recuperate before and after her surgery. It’s been frightening for me to witness Al’s behaviors, but others have witnessed these actions as well. Many are watching him now and I hope that creates a sense of obligation in him. Al has promised Rose he is willing to work on his issues, including getting counseling. I can only pray he follows through on that. Tonight she is returning to their home. It is tough to let go.

This has been a learning moment for me as well. I’ve always been careful about letting my grown children make their own choices. I’ve also been careful in choosing my words when I didn’t think they were making the right choice. I regularly ask myself, who am I to judge another? But this experience has been a lesson in learning how much I need to say, not what is appropriate or politically correct. Nearly every day throughout this process I have reminded myself that Rose is twenty-five years old and a married woman. My role as a parent in her life is a bit part and she must make her own decisions. But I could not allow myself to be silent and not speak my mind this time. My daughter nearly died. And in the days that followed her husband was not supportive and at times was cruel, blaming her for bringing a calamity into their lives. I could not be a silent witness. I said quite a bit to my daughter, probably more than I should have. But every word I said needed to be spoken out loud. She knows I will support her in whatever she chooses for her future, but she also clearly understands that I have strong concerns and fears for her safety. I have an obligation. I am a mother until the day I die.

And in case anyone wonders, I’m still praying to those bike riding angels. I hope they got off their bikes and that they are now walking with Rose and Al, guiding them to a smooth trail.

My Daughter Was Hit by a Car!

Rose and her husband Al were riding bikes after work on Wednesday afternoon. It was a gorgeous day and many people were out doing things. As Rose approached an intersection, she began to slow down. A car was approaching at the same time and it slowed down too. Al, riding on his bike behind Rose, watched the whole thing unfold. He said the car wasn’t going very fast when it hit Rose, but there had to be some speed involved because the impact propelled her up onto the hood of the car. She didn’t hit the windshield, but she slid off the hood, hung in the air for a second, then hit the ground and slid on the pavement for about 5-6 feet. Al thought she was dead.

As luck would have it, there were two nurses riding bikes in the same area. And there is a fire station at that intersection, and standing outside the station were an off-duty EMT and a firefighter. So within seconds of hitting the pavement, four trained professionals surrounded Rose. Rose was knocked out and doesn’t remember the impact. She remembers riding her bike and then the next memory she has is of waking up face down in the street with a mouth full of sand and people yelling at her to not move. She didn’t know how she got there. She didn’t know what day it was or even where she was. She was very confused. They strapped on a collar to protect her neck. They put her on a back board. By then the ambulance was there and she was on her way to the trauma hospital.

I was just getting started making dinner. I had taken out the pan I was going to use and was about to open up a package of meat when the phone rang. It was Al calling from the ambulance. “Rose was in an accident and she is being taken to the hospital. She is awake and conscious and she wants you to meet us at the hospital.” I dropped everything and was out of the house in about three minutes. As I drove into the city, I realized I didn’t have a clue about the extent of her injuries. I prayed out loud in the car.

The CT scan was “clear”, as was the ultrasound of her midsection and the x-ray of her pelvis. She has a broken left wrist and the right side of her body is covered in road rash. She has cuts and scrapes under her beautiful long hair, but none required stitches. She is incredibly lucky to be alive. About six hours after arriving at the hospital, they discharged her and sent her home. Five hours later, she experienced nausea and vomiting. We got that under control for about six hours, then it returned with a vengeance. So we took a second trip to the ER. She was told she has post-concussion syndrome and she was dehydrated. They hooked up an IV and gave her some meds. About four hours later, she was discharged again, with different pain meds and instructions to rest.

It’s been about 55 hours since the accident, so we are still in that critical time frame of the first 72 hours. Rose has had some short-term memory lapses and she admits her thinking is clouded. But she is resting, as best she can. She is not the kind of person to lay around and it’s driving her crazy. She wants to read a book, but she’s not supposed to do that. She is watching movies on TV even though she’s not supposed to do that.

Al is struggling with the shock of thinking Rose had died. He’s overwhelmed with the sudden role of caregiver and has not taken well to it. He’s concerned about how much this is all going to cost them. He’s worried about her missing work because they rely on both of their incomes. He’s been arguing with Rose about money and about being careless enough to let a car hit her. Frankly, he should be focused on giving Rose the care she needs for these first critical days and for the next couple of weeks. But he’s not.

It’s so difficult to know my place in this drama. Rose is a married woman. I am still her mother, but her husband is the person the doctors want to talk with. I’m “second best.”

With each hour, Rose continues to improve. I will feel much better once we pass the 72-hour mark, and more comfortable with each passing day. I’m curious about the things I am going to learn on this journey. And I am curious about whether this will strengthen their marriage or divide it.

It only takes a moment and life changes.

But I am a mother until the day I die.

Kate’s Grace

I wanted to get this writing done in time for Mother’s Day, but life got in the way. And isn’t that fitting? Most of the moms I know always step aside and let Life go first. My oldest daughter Kate is one such mom.

Kate is pregnant with her second child and due in mid-September. About three weeks ago she was full of excitement as she and her husband and their almost three-year-old daughter went to the doctor for a routine ultrasound. They learned they are having a boy. And they are thrilled! There are very few boys in Kate’s generation of the family. And for John’s family, this is the first boy to carry the family name in a generation. Smiles all around.

A couple of days after the ultrasound, Kate went in for a routine checkup and her doctor told her the radiologist hadn’t liked something in the ultrasound. The doctor said there was some concern about the baby’s feet and Kate would need to have a 4-D ultrasound as soon as possible. Kate left the doctor’s office and called me with the news. We talked for a long time, all the while I tried to reassure her that we needed to think positive thoughts. A couple of days later and the 4-D ultrasound completed, Kate and John learned their baby boy has bilateral club feet.

In the whole scheme of things, Kate understands this is a minor defect, and one that can be cured. But without even holding her baby in her arms, she already knows her baby is not “perfect.” And for that, Kate found herself grieving. Every mom wants a perfect baby and my heart aches for Kate that she’s dealing with this. And both of us keep putting it into perspective. Yes, this will be a challenge the first few months, but manageable. This is not a terminal disease. It is not life-threatening. In her heart Kate knows she will love this precious baby no matter what, but her mind is wondering if she’s up to the challenge. She shared with me how she feels a burden of weight on her shoulders simply because she is having a boy. And now, she feels added responsibility to learn as much as she can so that she can be prepared to mother a child who requires special care. And she wonders if she can do all that will be required of her once the baby arrives.

I was explaining all of this to a friend who said, “I know Kate will be fine and she will handle this with extreme grace.” True indeed. Kate has grace. I’ve watched her demonstrate this all of her life. When she was just three years old she attended a preschool class that mixed special needs children with “regular” children. The teachers regularly commented on Kate’s compassion. As Kate grew older and we added three sisters to her life, she took on the role of mentor. She carried that into high school and on to college, where she worked as a tutor and earned a double major in math and secondary education. Today she teaches in one of the poorest school districts in our state and she absolutely loves her job.

I love my Kate and I am awed by her strength and compassion. She is wise beyond her years. She is comfortable on the floor playing with blocks with preschoolers, she is at ease in a group of middle schoolers learning math, and she is confident as a coach to high schoolers. I’ve smiled as I’ve watched her converse with adults in many different settings. She “gets” people. She is respectful of all those she meets and quickly sees the value in each of us. She has an inherent drive to learn and understand. I have no doubt at all that this precious little boy who will join our world in just a few months will be given the greatest gift of all—Kate as his mom.